Kyrie Irving details impact grandfather's death had on Celtics' season, leaving for Nets

Shortly after committing to the Boston Celtics last season, point guard Kyrie Irving experienced a life-altering moment that changed how he approached his career in the present and in the future.

Irving, who signed a four-year, $142 million contract with the Brooklyn Nets this offseason, spoke about losing his grandfather and what it meant for his basketball path at the Nets’ first day of training camp Friday.

Death of grandfather pushes basketball to the side

Irving went long on why he changed his commitment to Boston, via Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston. He said he was excited for the future and felt comfortable, but two weeks after he said he wanted to re-sign his grandfather died on Oct. 23.

“Things just got really, really rocky for me,” he said.

Via Forsberg at NBC Sports Boston:

“After he passed, basketball was the last thing on my mind. A lot of basketball and the joy I had from it was sucked away from me. There was a facial expression that I carried around with me throughout the year. Didn’t allow anyone to get close to me in that instance, and it really bothered me.”

He said he didn’t get counseling or therapy to deal with the death, which he should have, and it resulted in “uncharacteristic” responses. He said it became clear throughout the year that his home life took higher precedence than the Celtics organization.

Irving’s answer alluded to his inability to lead the team in the correct ways and the need to take a closer look at what he wanted for the next step of his career.

Irving: ‘I failed’ Celtics teammates

Irving took his share of the blame for the Celtics failings. They entered the year as favorites for the Eastern Conference title but finished fourth in the conference and lost in the semifinals.

“I failed those guys in a sense that I didn’t give them everything I could have during that season, especially with the amount of pieces that we had. My relationship with them personally were great, but in terms of me being a leader in that environment and bringing everyone together, I failed.”

Irving, a six-time All-Star and 2015-16 NBA champion, led the team with 23.8 points per game, but was constantly criticized for poor leadership.

Irving, currently day-to-day with a facial fracture, told media though all the players wanted to be great, they weren’t trying to be great as a team and it doomed them.

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Kyrie Irving through his career
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Kyrie Irving through his career
BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 1: Kyrie Irving poses for a portrait after getting introduced as Boston Celtics on September 1, 2017 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
Duke Blue Devils guard Kyrie Irving (1) shoots against the Hampton Pirates during their second round NCAA men's basketball game in Charlotte, North Carolina March 18, 2011. REUTERS/Chris Keane (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Kyrie Irving stands with NBA Commissioner David Stern after being selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers as the first overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft in Newark, New Jersey, June 23, 2011. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Cleveland Cavaliers' Kyrie Irving (2) reacts to making a three point basket in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge game during the NBA All-Star weekend in Orlando, Florida, February 24, 2012. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Cleveland Cavaliers' rookie Kyrie Irving (R) dribbles around Boston Celtics' defender Avery Bradley during the second quarter of their NBA basketball game in Cleveland January 31, 2012. REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Kyrie Irving (C) smiles during the U.S. Olympic basketball team practice at UNLV's Mendenhall Center in Las Vegas, Nevada July 6, 2012. REUTERS/Las Vegas Sun/Sam Morris (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL OLYMPICS)
Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving brings the ball up court against the New York Knicks in the second quarter of their NBA basketball game at Madison Square Garden in New York December 15, 2012. REUTERS/Adam Hunger (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
East All-Star Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers competes in the three-point contest during the NBA basketball All-Star weekend in Houston, Texas, February 16, 2013. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
NBA All-Star LeBron James of the Miami Heat (6) and teammates Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks (7,) Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh of the Miami Heat and Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers look up at the clock in the fourth quarter of the NBA All-Star basketball game in Houston, Texas, February 17, 2013. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Dec 10, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving (2) drives against New York Knicks point guard Raymond Felton (2) in the first quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
January 16, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) moves the ball up court against the Los Angeles Clippers during the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Kyrie Irving of the U.S. (L) goes up for a basket past Slovenia's Edo Muric during their Basketball World Cup quarter-final game in Barcelona September 9, 2014. REUTERS/Albert Gea (SPAIN - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Dec 2, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (right) and guard Kyrie Irving (2) react in the fourth quarter against the Milwaukee Bucks at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 30, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) shoots as Sacramento Kings guard Darren Collison (7) defends during the second quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 24, 2015; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) attempts a shot against Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond (0) during the second quarter at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
May 12, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) celebrates with guard Kyrie Irving (2) after a 106-101 win over the Chicago Bulls in game five of the second round of the NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 11, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Team USA guard Kyrie Irving takes a shot during the USA men's basketball national team minicamp at Mendenhall Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 7, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard Tony Allen (9) and guard Mario Chalmers (6) celebrate after Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) missed a game-tying basket as time expired at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
June 1, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) addresses the media in a press conference during NBA Finals media day at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
June 2, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) shoots against Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) during the first half in game two of the NBA Finals at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 10, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) and guard Kyrie Irving (2) look during a press conference after game four of the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors at Quicken Loans Arena. The Warriors won 108-97. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Cleveland Cavaliers Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, Kevin Love, JR Smith and Tristan Thompson arrive home to a welcome party in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., June 20, 2016. REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk
2016 Rio Olympics - Basketball - Main Press Centre - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 04/08/2016. Kyrie Irving (USA) of the U.S. attends a news conference. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
2016 Rio Olympics - Basketball - Quarterfinal - Men's Quarterfinal USA v Argentina - Carioca Arena 1 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 17/8/2016. Kyrie Irving (USA) of the USA and Facundo Campazzo (ARG) of Argentina compete. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
Feb 19, 2017; New Orleans, LA, USA; Western Conference forward Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors (35), Eastern Conference forward Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers (2) and Western Conference guard Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors (30) talk in the 2017 NBA All-Star Game at Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 16, 2017; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) drives against Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) in the second quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 25, 2017; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) reacts after a play during the second half against the Washington Wizards at Quicken Loans Arena. The Wizards won 127-115. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 1: Kyrie Irving talks to the media as he gets introduced as Boston Celtics on September 1, 2017 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 28: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Boston Celtics looks on during the game against the Houston Rockets on December 28, 2017 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - MARCH 20: Kyrie Irving #11 and Jaylen Brown #7 of the Boston Celtics talk during the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on March 20, 2018 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - MAY 15: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Boston Celtics looks on in the second half of Game Two of the 2018 NBA Eastern Conference Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers at TD Garden on May 15, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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